Threats and opportunities for strategic HR

Press Releases

20 Jan 2014

The Institute for Employment Studies today launches its annual IES Perspectives on HR report, which aims to help the HR function to move towards a more strategic outlook. This edition considers the threats and opportunities currently faced by HR departments; some are familiar hardy perennials, others are newer kids on the block. Considered from the perspectives of the organisation, the employee and of externally-driven factors, these articles will stimulate and provoke, yet also offer some more practical ideas.

The HR meta themes of personal development, organisational efficiency, organisational values and culture, leadership, etc remain constant. The environment within which they present themselves varies. Change offers mostly opportunity but some threat; it tests the function's capability to deliver. This is the stuff of business strategy, and this report can help move HR in that direction in two ways.

Firstly, it underlines the importance of the external context in which HR operates. Secondly, the report should encourage HR to understand their work in a holistic business-centred way rather than pursuing functional interests.

Peter Reilly, Director of HR Research and Consultancy at IES, comments:

‘In last year's report we called for the HR function to step up a gear and get to grips with an ever-altering world, in order to be seen as a partner to the business, not simply a service function. This report re-emphasises that plea but also adds to it by demonstrating how issues that might be regarded as sitting outside HR, are areas where HR should be involved. HR ought not to be just downstream of the strategic decisions, but in there creating the strategies.’

Topics covered in IES Perspectives on HR 2014, include:

  • Big data and HR analytics
  • Outsourcing decision making: Can we make it more considered?
  • Crowdsourced leadership
  • Zero-hour contracts: the continued debate in 2014
  • Understanding resilience
  • Diversity at senior team and board level
  • Talent for what? Reconnecting talent management with business needs
  • Top employers for flexible working
  • Establishing a culture of openness


Notes to editors

Peter Reilly, Director HR Research and Consultancy, is available for interview and individual comment or articles on the topics covered. Please contact Lorna Hardy on the details below.

About IES

The Institute for Employment Studies is the UK's leading independent centre for research and evidence-based consultancy in employment, labour market and human resource policy and practice. It is apolitical and not-for-profit, its activities being funded through research and consultancy commissions, and from its corporate membership programme. The Institute aims to improve employment policy in the UK and internationally by carrying out authoritative research of practical relevance to policy makers and those responsible for implementing policy programmes and initiatives

For a media copy of the report, please contact Lorna Hardy at or 01273 763 414

IES tweets from @EmploymtStudies